Sunday, February 11, 2018


A not uncommon sight in my studio - bins piled up with warps, spools, general...messiness.  While it may look messy to someone else, there is a certain level of organization in the mess.  Because I never work on just one project, one warp at a time.  My approach to getting everything I do, done, is to have several items that progress, in their turn, depending on a number of factors.

I have always been really good at working to deadlines.  I can 'see' my schedule, I have a pretty good idea of what needs to be done next in order to progress efficiently.  There are times when I work in batches, collecting things to the point of, say, wet finishing, then doing a big batch of wet finishing.  Like I did yesterday.

Doug said he could go pressing today, so yesterday I ran four dozen mats with matching runners, plus the 14 towels I wove last summer, through the washer and dryer.  This makes more economical sense than running only a dozen mats through the washer - that's a waste of time, energy and water/electricity.  Much more economical/efficient to do two dozen mats at a time.

I tend to go on a warp winding binge.  I get into a rhythm, filling boxes or bins with warps to be done later.  As I design more colour ways for a particular design, I push myself further out of my comfort zone in terms of the colours I use together.  I work from my stash, adding another level of challenge - what can I do with what I have?

Then I tend to weave them off as quickly as I can.

I've gotten good at scheduling.  I know how long it takes me to do a task so I have a good idea of what I can accomplish (when I'm not sick) in a given time.  Sometimes the available time is just 15 minutes.  What can I accomplish in 15 minutes?  I can wind bobbins.  Pull colours for another warp.  Clean up.  Make up a yarn order.  I don't ever say "oh I only have 15 minutes - not enough time to do anything productive".  Those 15 minutes here and there can add up.  I can even weave a place mat and a half in 15 minutes.  I can wind a mat warp in 20.  How do I know?  Because I pay attention to such things.

I don't watch the clock to see when I can stop working.  I watch the clock to see how much time I have and what I can fit into that time period.

A friend has told me that I get more done when I'm having a bad day than she gets done when she is having a good day.  But she does different things than what I do.  It's never a good idea to compare yourself to someone else because you never know what is really going on beneath the surface.

What I do say is that if you like my results, you might like to take a look at my processes.  Because what I do and how I do it is no secret.

I also do a lot of my thinking when I am in the studio, working when only surface attention is required.  People frequently tell me that they can't make more than one of anything because they get bored.  I never get bored when I'm weaving and I almost always make multiples.  I get into the zone and weaving becomes a kind of working meditation for me.

My problem is that as I age and find my body wearing out I still think I'm 35 with all the energy and enthusiasm of that 35 year old.  Well, I still have the enthusiasm, which is part of the problem.  I'm slowing down, my energy isn't the same as it was 30 mumble years ago.

But I hope that as I enter my 7th decade in a couple of years that I can at the very least retain my enthusiasm without becoming frustrated at my reduced energy levels...


Teresa said...

Hi, I just watched The Efficient Weaver Course on Interweave. Just have to say thank you! I so appreciate your approach and clear instructions. Best wishes from a new weaver.

Laura Fry said...

Glad you found it useful. :)

Kathy Put said...

I'm reading backwards through your blog to catch up, and as always, I'm learning and enjoying your insight into weaving and life.

But I have to point out that at 68, you're in your seventh decade now. Your tenth birthday was the end of your first decade of being alive. Your seventieth birthday will be the end of decade 7.

I'm not sure if this is an encouraging fact or a depressing one. I'm wrapping up my sixth decade soon, and I still have a lot of things to accomplish, so you inspire me to keep going!